Friday, 7 July 2017. (Rifugio Castiglioni to Albergo Miralago / Passo San Pellegrino; Stage 6)
Did I get a good night’s sleep, you bet ya! Slept like a rock. Breakfast was solid; it included assorted meats, cheese, butter, Nutella stuff, and bread. Italian coffee for the win. Usually at dinner the night before, Deb and I would read through the guide book to see what was in store for the next day. Stage 6 has a pretty long uphill section (3.5-hour uphill) and in general looked like one of the more difficult stages. I convinced Deb to hike to Malga Ciapela, then we would gauge how we felt and go from there. The hike from Rifugio Castiglioni to Malga Ciapela is a pretty steep downhill in the beginning and meanders down a ski resort, which was not as exciting as some of the scenery as we’ve seen previously.
With that section not being the most exciting section and us needing / wanting a rest day, we skipped the rest of the Stage 6 hike and checked out the Funiviemarmolada (Marmolada Tram, 30 euro per person). The views were solid from the summit (stop 4) and the World War I museum at stop 3 was very interesting; actually one of my favorite parts of the trip. Italy sold the U.S. out for land. “The North Remembers!”
Deb and I ate twice at Marmolada Bar (right outside of the tram) both pre and post tram ride, which had great food / drinks and even better service. We had cappuccino, tea, orange Fanta (another new addiction), and Spec/Brie sandwiches. After a bit of a run around stopping at different hotels / rifugios, we finally caught a cab at Hotel Roy, which was the only hotel with decent enough customer service to help us out. Deb’s cell phone came in handy to call a local cab as the hotels / rifugios we stopped at would not let us use their phone. Make sure you dial ‘0039’ before the local number. Also, Hotel Roy seemed above and beyond the nicest establishment in the area and I would consider staying there if that fits your travel plans.
It was 80 euro from Malga Ciapela to San Pelligrino and took about an hr. Our cab driver was the man and like all Italian cab drivers readily assumed the race car driver persona. Albergo Miralago was a crazy happening place during the day when we arrived. We found out later that there was a pop-up cello concert a short hike away that concluded just as we got there. Apparently, this has become a popular event throughout the summer where 10 celloists get together and play pop-up shows in various locations. Wish we would’ve known ahead of time as I would’ve been all over checking this out.
When we checked into Albergo Miralago, we got our own room with private bath, queen bed, and TV! It was a pleasant surprise to find out that albergo means hotel, nice! Showering has been quite a luxury on this trip and have our own, extremely nice shower was a phenomenal comfort.
After we got settled in and took entirely too long of showers, Deb and I took a stroll to the small downtown (1 road) in San Pelligrino. It's a cool, trendy ski town that is very scenic with towering mountains on both sides. After a while we stopped at Snow Thrill to had a drink and a snack out on the patio, which overlooked a lake. As it became early evening, the storm clouds started to roll in although the rain held off until nighttime.
We ate ala carte at the hotel and the food was pretty tasty. The fare was pretty traditional with both Italian and Austrian influences. After dinner, I could not resist the temptation to turn the TV on and try to find something in
English. No luck.